I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions or insights to offer in regard to older (40+) nurses maximizing their chances of being hired, and conversely, decreasing their chances of being fired. I have been reading several posts that refer to the discrimination some older nurses have been subjected to, or are currently facing in regard to these issues.
I am understanding that older nurses are more expensive to employers in terms of medical insurance, worker's compensation insurance and other benefits (please feel free to correct me).
If you are an older nurse, your suggestions are especially appreciated.
I apologize if my question has already been addressed. I did try a search of both these questions separately.
Jul 3, '12
I am 50 in 3 months.
What i do is try to saty height/weight somewhat proportionate
and not look dated. I work out so hopefully can project a somewhat healthy and strong front.
What else can you do?
Jul 3, '12
you don't mention your age or employment status.
i think a lot of "age discrimination" is really more discrimination against nurses at the top of their pay scale. easier to fire the nurse at the top of her pay scale and hire two nurses at the bottom . . . but if you're a new nurse at 40 or 50 or 60, you'll be at the bottom of the pay scale anyway.
as far as avoiding being fired -- do your job to the best of your ability. volunteer to be on committees and do special projects. the more work it dumps on your manager if you leave the company, the less likely she'll be to want you to leave. be aware of the rules of the work place -- dress code, lateness policy, scheduling guidelines, etc. and play within the rules at all times. be a team player. and even if you're a quiet, relatively not social person (such as myself) go out of your way to be friendly with/liked by your colleagues. when staff is cut, it's the people no one likes who are first looked at.
Jul 3, '12
getting older has given me the chance to branch out into areas of nursing that i never thought of before (ie: discharge planning, employee health, occupational nursing, school nursing, education,infection control and prevention). i worked the medical floors for 14 years and icu for 7 more. i tried correction facility nursing but those wild little juveniles and razor wire were not my cup of tea.
my almost 60 year old body certainly knew it was getting worn out. i was also ready to get away from direct patient care and dealing with the "entitlement generation" of patients with their love of satisfaction scores and reporting nurses or yelling at them let me know it was time to distance myself from floor work!!
i still love nursing and have many years of experience and wanted to stay in nursing. there are so many other venues for nurses to work and be specialized. i think i would probably like to try teaching next if i have enough life left in these old bones and at least two brain cells left in another ten or twenty years. lol
Jul 3, '12
I can't agree more with what everyone said above. I heavily involve myself in committees and such and keep myself fit so I can deal with the rigors of the floor.
Being union might help as well. Managment can't fire at a whim.
When I first started at this facility, they docked me 5 yrs because I hadn't worked. They helps me now, because nurses my age make more than I do.
Jul 4, '12
Almost 60 and still working like a fool. It also helps to have a skill in areas that are hard to staff, like me in the OR. I have 35 years in the OR that can't be readliy matched by a newbie, just because they make way less than I. I still outwork and outthink the youngsters and cover way more call than I should, like today. So obtaining skills that are hard to replace make you very marketable and hard to get rid of. Just don't lock yourself on that Med/Surg floor for 20 or so years because you CAN be replaced.
Jul 4, '12
I have found that it helps to be willing to work at the low wages offered. Insist on appropriate wages and you won't be working for most employers in this economy. There are plenty of unemployed nurses out there, both experienced and new grads, who are very eager to work at CNA wages (or less) for licensed nurse positions.
Jul 5, '12
I worry about my mother. She is in an LPN-RN bridge program. She is expected to be done in a little over a year. She is in her mid 50's. I hope that she will find a decent job when she graduates. Currently our area is firing all of the experienced nurses so being a new RN grad may be in her favor. I just worry what kind of care we will all receive if only new grads are working. Who are teaching these new grads the ropes? I have over 5 years in at my current facility and worry if I am pushing my limit here.
Jul 5, '12
be flexible and willing to work where there is availability. This is true regardless of age. I did not even START nursing school till I was 45 and now, nearly 20 years later, have never experienced being without work or being discriminated against due to age. I have continued my education, acquired certifications, am active in committees and fluff stuff (marketing ventures for the hospital), and in general have the same expectations for me as I do for my staff. I intend to keep working till I can't
Jul 6, '12
I am a new nurse @ 50 (a bit over a year of nursing). I agree with Ruby that being on the bottom of the pay scale probably helps. I also am 5'4" and 130 lbs (menopause added the newest 20
) and good genes help because I look in my early 40s.
My mother was "re-engineered" into retirement after 35 yrs of nursing many years ago, so I know that age discrimination exists when there is a nursing glut. My mother was told that she didn't "qualify" for her old position under a new title. My mom had a BSN and MHA. The nurse that did "qualify" had an ADN and was given X # of yrs to get the degrees!
I am liking being a floor nurse for now, but know my aging body probably wont like it for enough years to retire. My plan is to get my informatics MSN soon and cross over into desk work again.
You can get hired as an older nurse. I am proof.
Jul 6, '12
[QUOTE=shodobe;6672205]Almost 60 and still working like a fool. It also helps to have a skill in areas that are hard to staff, like me in the OR. I have 35 years in the OR that can't be readliy matched by a newbie, just because they make way less than I. I still outwork and outthink the youngsters and cover way more call than I should, like today. So obtaining skills that are hard to replace make you very marketable and hard to get rid of. Just don't lock yourself on that Med/Surg floor for 20 or so years because you CAN be replaced.[/QUOTE
I find that comment a bit insulting. Since you have 35 yrs of OR experience, when was the last time you even worked a med/surg floor?
Any nurse, anywhere can be replaced. I saw it happen to my friend. 20 yrs in OR, now scrambling to find a job. No real just cause. She worked a non union facility and one day she was let go.
As for us Med/Surg nurses, like any SPECIALTY, keep yourself current on education and then some. Become certified. Get yourself involved in 'behind the scenes' work with the fluffy stuff as one poster called it. Make yourself known. Help develop policies..anything to make yourself invaluable. Does it make you invincible? No, but it helps.
I have made myself a nice little niche on a Med/Surg floor, same as a couple of co workers. We are highly involved in the running of the floor. I have put myself out there to learn how my floor works to the point I do a lot of managerial stuff for my boss when he needs extra help. We are certified and we are always involved in committees.
Jul 7, '12
To everyone who replied: Thank you for sharing your insights and experience. You have all given me a lot to think about.
Jul 12, '12
I'm am an older nurse who has been the profession for 36 years. Five years ago I went back to school and got my BSN. Now I am applying to get into an MSN program. I am a clinical coach on my unit (orients new employees) and was a Super User when Epic was started at my hospital. Any nurse has to prove to the manager that they valuable to the unit reguardless of their age. As for older nurses being resistant to change, change has always been a part of nursing. Documentation, ways we do clinical care, the way we dress, and many other aspects have changed over the years. Older nurses are adaptable because they are use to change. My advise to older nurses is to hang in there, learn all that you can, and make yourself useful to your unit. The patients and the newer staff need your wisdom.